The results of the Iowa Caucuses are in. To the extent that you can draw conclusions from the votes of 123,000 individuals, here are some quick observations.
1) The Media will invariably focus on which conservative candidates should drop out. They will also focus on the fact that there is nobody who has a definitive roadmap to defeat Romney. But the larger point they will overlook is how much the Republican electorate dislikes Romney. He spent million of dollars in 2008 and got crushed by Huckabee. He spent millions of dollars this year, yet he failed to improve on his 2008 showing (Santorum spent just $30,000 on ads). The punchline is that 75% of GOP voters are willing to vote for anyone anyone against Romney.
2) It appears that Romney’s base of support is limited to rich secular voters. That’s not exactly the appeal you want to have going into this election. There is very little overlap between Romney’s 2008 voters and his current supporters. In other words, he is last cycle’s McCain.
3) As we head into New Hampshire and South Carolina, I have a feeling that Romney will finally incur aggressive and sustained attacks from multiple candidates. In particular, Newt is seeking his revenge – to the extent that he wants Romney to lose more than he wants to win himself.
4) With 27% of the electorate being Independent voters, and Ron Paul garnering support of almost half those voters, can we finally end this nonsense of having non-Republicans vote in a Republican primary/caucus?
5) With the prospects of electing a conservative president becoming dimmer by the day, we really need to divert some of our attention to the congressional races. In a presidential election year, all of the primaries are much earlier, including those for Senate and House candidates. We need to mobilize for conservatives down the ticket. Our Republican president will need a strong conservative Congress to prevent a rehash of the 2001-2006 era of compassionate conservatism.
6) The most important observation from Iowa? Republicans are dramatically underwhelmed by the current field. In a year when Republicans are fired up to defeat Obama, they barley broke the 2008 turnout record, and when the increase in Independent voters is factored in, there were probably less Republican voters this time around. Unlike previous elections, there is a huge opportunity for a conservative candidate to enter the race and sweep the field. Unless someone else gets in, Gingrich appears to be the only one who still has a decent level of national support to drag Romney into a protracted primary battle.
7) On a personal level, I’ve always said that I would support the anti-Romney whomever that would be (except for Paul), just as I would support any Republicans nominee against Obama in the general election. For now, with Perry headed back to Texas and Santorum with little support outside of Iowa, it appears that Newt is the only hope for those who proudly declare: Mittens Delenda Est. McCain’s impending endorsement of Romney will only galvanize us to kill (politically, of course) two Republican imposters with one stone.